Kentucky basketball fans are starting to get used to going to Final Fours again and with this year’s championship run possibly ending in Catlanta, the Big Blue Nation is already making hotel plans for the end of March.
Myron Medcalf of ESPN thinks you better go ahead and cancel those hotel reservations because he thinks there are too many good teams for Kentucky’s freshman to put the Big Blue back to the Final 4 for a third straight season under John Calipari.
Will another highly touted freshman class lead Kentucky to a third straight Final Four?
No. A few months ago, I had a different perspective since the pieces are clearly there. Nerlens Noel leads another stellar recruiting class that can guide the Wildcats deep into the NCAA tournament. And like last season’s young crew, those freshmen will have plenty of help with North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow in the mix and Kyle Wiltjer returning.
But the other contenders (and the veterans that lead them) can’t be ignored. NC State, Michigan, Indiana, UCLA, Louisville and Kansas can joust with the Wildcats. They’re stacked, too. You can’t sleep on Arizona, Duke, Florida or Syracuse, either. Plus, Anthony Davis and his transcendental defense are gone (Noel is not Davis). He was the key to Kentucky’s national title run in March. Not taking anything away from the 2011 squad that cracked the Final Four, but that year’s field wasn’t nearly as strong as I think the 2013 bracket will be. Right now, I expect that gauntlet to trip up this season’s here-today-gone-tomorrow crew of UK youngsters prior to the Final Four in Atlanta.
I know it is a long way to go until March, but my advice is going ahead and make those plans to go to Atlanta anyway.
It isn’t a Final Four without Kentucky fans if the Wildcats are there or not.